Home Virto Commerce blog Purchasing Platforms & Sourcing Marketplaces: Comprehensive Overview & Guide

Purchasing Platforms & Sourcing Marketplaces: Comprehensive Overview & Guide

Mar 1, 2024 • 4 min

A B2B sourcing is more than just buying goods in a marketplace. At least it is believed that this process is quite complicated. However, a purchasing platform can help you make this process much easier. In this article, we will compare purchasing software which is used for procurement, discover the main types of purchasing systems, B2B sourcing platforms and cover 7 examples of sourcing platforms for procurement to consider in 2024.

Purchasing Automation

Purchasing automation popularity is increasing, and for a reason: it doesn’t only streamline the sourcing process but also reduces operational costs, improves relationships with suppliers and customers, and leads to greater efficiency.

According to Data Bridge Market Research, the global sourcing software market is going to double from 2021 to 2029 (from USD 7,058.52 million to USD 14,977.19 million). This means procurement comes to the era of massive digitalization, inevitably moving to more process automation.

The purchasing process entails several standard steps, and almost all of them can be automated:

  • Identification and specification. The first step in the process of sourcing is to identify a need for a product or service and create a specification with all the requirements needed. 
  • Budgeting and Requests for proposals (RFP) or quotes (RFQ). After a budget is established for the purchasing process, companies provide suppliers with RFP or RFQ to get a quote. 
  • Evaluation and negotiation of proposals or quotes. The proposals or quotes received from the suppliers are evaluated based on predetermined criteria such as price, quality, delivery time, and technical compliance, and then the parties negotiate them. 
  • Contract signing and purchase order creation. Now it’s time to sign a contract, and the purchase order with the final conditions is issued. 
  • Products are received, inspected, and accepted. When both sides agree on the requirements and process, the goods or services get delivered straight to the customer and accepted with no additional negotiations. 
  • Payment. Finally, payment is made to the supplier as per the agreed terms and conditions. 
While not being able to automate such important steps as negotiations and contract signing, modern procurement systems and marketplaces can help build a procurement program and provide enough info to make a data-based decision on what to order. Creation of a purchasing marketplace is, basically, a step to a new level of e-procurement, promising greater profit and easier processes.

Procurement vs. Purchasing vs Sourcing — What is the Difference

Procurement platforms encompass various software and digital solutions. The differences often lie in the platform features, functionalities, target audience, and more. We can clearly differ several types of these platforms:

  • Sourcing platforms.

B2B sourcing refers to the process of finding suppliers or vendors that will be able to fulfill the businesses' procurement needs. It also includes the product acquisition itself.

Purpose: B2B sourcing software is primarily focused on identifying and selecting suppliers.

Features: Usually includes RFQ (Request for Quotation) tools, allows for supplier evaluations and bid management, and helps discover suppliers. 

Examples: Jaggaer, Scout RFP, GEP SMART, and others.

  • Purchasing Platforms and Marketplaces.

Purchasing platforms and marketplaces are digital tools tailored to facilitate the buying and selling of products; they often offer included procurement capabilities and features.

Purpose: They concentrate on the transactional aspect of procurement, specifically caring about PO creation and invoice management.

Features: Usually, you can find purchase order management, capabilities of invoice processing, and payment processing features. 

Examples: Procurify, Precoro, TradeIndia. 

Besides that, you can find the following among B2B purchasing tools: SRMs, Contract Management, e-procurement, Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) Platforms, and more.  

Purchasing Software vs. Procurement Software vs. B2B sourcing platforms

Software for purchasing is primarily focused on automating the purchasing process. This includes tasks such as creating purchase orders, approving requisitions, managing contracts and tracking logistics. Purchasing software is typically used by businesses that purchase goods and services from a limited number of vendors on a regular basis. This type of software is best suited for businesses that have a straightforward purchasing process and do not require complex sourcing capabilities.

Sourcing software helps manage the entire procurement process: sourcing, payments, and more. This includes identifying potential suppliers, supplier evaluations, contracts negotiating, managing supplier relationships, and other tasks. Sourcing software is typically used by businesses with complex procurement processes. 

Purchasing System Software
Procurement Software
B2B Sourcing Platforms
Common features Common features Common features
Support requisition management 

Support requisition management 

Support requisition management 
.Help control invoice processing and payments  .Help control invoice processing and payments  Help control invoice processing and payments 
Offer purchase order management  Offer purchase order management  Offer purchase order management 
Make spend management easier  Make spend management easier  Make spend management easier 
Specific features Specific features Specific features
Manage the purchasing part only  Manage the full purchasing cycle and strategic process of product or service sourcing  Emphasizes supplier profiles and communication channels.
Refer to transactional activities  Relate to product delivery and receipt  Typically lacks advanced cost optimization functionalities.
Related to payments and orders  Cataloging/categorization  Primarily focused on supplier discovery and RFQ 
Budgeting/forecasting  Inventory management  Facilitates supplier discovery, communication, and pricing negotiation.

While purchasing and procure software serve different purposes, they are often used together. For example, purchasing software can be used to manage routine procurement tasks, while B2B sourcing platform can be used to manage more complex sourcing tasks. 

What Are Purchasing Platforms

A purchasing platform is similar to an ecommerce marketplace. The only difference is that instead of offering products directly to the end user, it supports the sale and purchase of supplies, technology, services, and other commodities. Standardly used for B2B or B2G transactions. 

What does purchasing software do?

Enterprises can automate their entire source-to-pay cycle using purchasing marketplaces and software. This includes analyzing and managing expenditures, contract management, and invoice payments, allowing users to have complete control over all sourcing process operations.

Benefits of a Purchasing Software

One of the primary benefits of using purchasing software is the ability to leverage data to make informed purchasing decisions. Sourcing software typically includes analytics tools that enable businesses to track spending, identify cost savings opportunities, and monitor supplier performance. By leveraging this data, businesses can optimize their procurement process and reduce costs over time. 

Another key benefit of using purchasing platforms is the ability to manage supplier relationships more effectively. Purchasing software enables businesses to track supplier performance, monitor contract compliance, and identify opportunities for collaboration. By building strong supplier relationships, businesses can improve quality, reduce costs, and increase overall efficiency. Here is a list of main sourcing software benefits:
  1. Cost savings. Purchasing software can help organizations save money by streamlining procurement processes and identifying cost-saving opportunities. 
  2. Increased efficiency. Purchasing software automates many manual procurement tasks, such as purchase order creation, invoice processing, and supplier management, which can increase efficiency and reduce errors. 
  3. Improved supplier management. Sourcing software can help organizations manage their supplier relationships more effectively by providing visibility into supplier performance, tracking supplier information, and facilitating communication with suppliers. 
  4. Enhanced data visibility and analysis. Sourcing platforms for procurement can provide real-time data on procurement activities, which can help organizations make more informed decisions and improve their selling strategies. 
  5. Compliance with regulations. Purchasing software can help organizations comply with procurement regulations by ensuring that procurement activities are transparent, auditable, and in line with regulatory requirements. 
  6. Improved collaboration. B2B sourcing software can facilitate collaboration between procurement teams and other departments, such as finance and operations, by providing a centralized platform for procurement activities. 
  7. Reduced risk. Purchasing platforms can help organizations reduce procurement risks, such as supplier non-compliance or fraudulent activities, by providing visibility into procurement activities and identifying potential issues early on. 
Overall, Sourcing platforms for procurement can help organizations improve their processes, reduce costs, and increase efficiency, which can lead to improved profitability and competitiveness.

Does My Company Need Purchasing Software? 

If your business has a simple sourcing process and only works with a few suppliers on a regular basis, you may try to use basic tools such as spreadsheets or email (however, professional purchasing software can give you an opportunity to scale!). 

Purchasing tool can be an excellent investment when you have a complex sourcing process and work with multiple suppliers. It can help you manage the entire procurement process, from sourcing suppliers to payment processing, identify potential suppliers, conduct supplier evaluations, negotiate contracts, manage supplier relationships, and track supplier performance. Purchasing marketplaces can also help you leverage data to make informed purchasing decisions, identify cost savings opportunities, and monitor supplier performance.
Here are some situations when purchasing purchasing software is a must:
  • You own large businesses with complex  processes. 
Large businesses often have a complex sourcing process that involves multiple departments and suppliers. Purchasing software can help streamline these processes and make them more efficient.
  • The company works with a large number of suppliers. 
If your business works with a large number of suppliers, it can be challenging to manage them all effectively. Procurement management system can help you manage your supplier relationships, monitor performance, and identify cost savings opportunities.
  • There is a need to optimize the procurement process. 
B2B sourcing platform can help you optimize your process by leveraging data to make informed purchasing decisions. This can help you reduce costs, improve quality, and increase overall efficiency.
  • The company aims to improve collaboration between departments. 
Procurement management software can help improve collaboration between different departments within your organization. By using a centralized platform to manage your process, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
  • Business needs to reduce manual processes and errors. 
B2B purchasing platform can help you automate manual processes, reduce errors, and improve accuracy. Purchase software can help you save time, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency. ​​​​​

Key Features of Purchasing Software

B2B purchasing platforms is designed to help businesses manage the sourcing process, from sourcing suppliers to payment processing. Different purchasing software solutions may offer varying features, but some key features that are commonly found in purchasing marketplace include: 

  • Sourcing and supplier management. Procure system should allow businesses to search for and evaluate potential suppliers. It should also include tools to manage supplier relationships, including contract management, performance tracking, and collaboration tools. 
  • Purchase order creation. Purchasing software should allow businesses to create and approve purchase orders electronically. This can help to reduce errors, streamline workflows, and improve overall efficiency. 
  • Invoice management. Purchasing software should include tools to manage invoices, including electronic invoicing, invoice matching, and approval workflows. 
  • Inventory management. Purchasing software may include inventory management tools that allow businesses to track inventory levels, manage stock levels, and automate the ordering process when inventory levels reach a certain threshold. 
  • Analytics and reporting. Sourcing software should provide businesses with access to data and analytics tools that enable them to track spending, identify cost savings opportunities, and monitor supplier performance. Reporting features may include dashboards, custom reports, and data visualizations. 
  • Contract management. Purchasing software should allow businesses to manage supplier contracts, including contract creation, tracking, and renewal. 
  • Collaboration tools. Purchasing software may include collaboration tools that allow different departments within an organization to work together more effectively, including communication tools, task management, and document sharing. 
  • Integration with other systems. Sourcing platforms should be able to integrate with other systems, such as accounting software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, and supply chain management software. 
In general, purchasing software should include a range of features that enable businesses to manage the purchasing process more efficiently. From sourcing and supplier management to inventory management and analytics, purchasing software can help businesses reduce costs, improve supplier relationships, and optimize their purchasing process.

The 7 Popular Purchasing Platforms: Top Sourcing Solution Companies

What software is used for procurement? Generally, both Purchasing and Procurement Software are essential. The final choice depends on the needs and particular tasks of your business. Here are some examples of procurement management systems and procurement software used by businesses worldwide: 

  • SAP Ariba 

Peer Insight Rating: 4.3 / 5 

SAP Ariba is a cloud-based procurement software solution offeruing various procurement tools, including sourcing, contract management, supplier management, and spend management. 

  • Coupa 

Peer Insight Rating: 4.4 / 5

Coupa is a spend management platform that includes procurement tools, such as sourcing, purchasing, and supplier management. 

  • Procurify 

GetApp Rating: 4.5 / 5

Procurify is a procurement system and spend management platform that includes features such as purchase order creation, invoice management, and spend analytics.

  • Oracle Procurement Cloud  

Peer Insight Rating: 4.2 / 5

Oracle Procurement Cloud is a procurement software system that includes tools for sourcing, purchasing, and supplier management, as well as features for contract management and spend analysis.

  • Jaggaer   

Peer Insight Rating: 4.6 / 5

Jaggaer is a cloud-based source-to-pay platform that includes procurement tools such as sourcing, supplier management, and spend analytics. 

  • Zycus  

Peer Insight Rating: 4.6 / 5

Zycus is a software solution that includes tools for sourcing, purchasing, supplier management, and contract management. Fits well for small business procurement software 

  • TradeGecko 

GetApp Rating: 4.6 / 5

TradeGecko is a procument system, an inventory management and purchasing software that includes features for purchase order creation, inventory tracking, and supplier management. 

Most of these best purchasing software options can cover the tasks of a middle-sized business. The best solution for enterprise-level and B2B companies would be a B2B procurement marketplace like Virto Commerce offers. B2B Marketplaces offer a comprehensive sourcing with features of all these tools included. 

Why Virto Commerce B2B Procurement Marketplace Is a Better Solution?

Virto Commerce is an open-source API-based platform that offers many exclusive features and capabilities of procurement marketplaces other solutions don’t. For example: 

  • You can use different payment methods for more flexible transactions
  • You will have an opportunity to scale abroad: the platform easily works with multiple currencies and regions. 
  • Offer your customers personalized price lists (like De Klok Dranken did) and speed up your operations. 
  • Add unique features for each industry you work with in just a few days without waiting.


Moving to B2B procurement marketplaces and purchasing software purchasing is a new level of ecommerce. Choosing eProcurement software systems can increase efficiency by providing a centralized platform for businesses to purchase goods and services from a wide range of suppliers. It can also give businesses access to a larger pool of suppliers, leading to cost savings and better transparency in pricing and product information.

The Virto Commerce team is always ready to consult you on the latest trends and features and help to choose the best sourcing software. To learn more, contact us, and we will reach out personally. 

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